After hearing a shriek of delight upon viewing friend Christine's gold Barney's Birkenstocks, and realizing it wasn't her shriek, it became time to end all denial: this summer is the summer of neohippie.
There are fringe-y linen scarves. There is a gold geod necklace (yes, as in a rock). There is a pet duck that doesn't know she's our pet. Herbs scent the air: home-grown edibles plus Fresh's Cannabis Rose perfume plus marijuana from neighbor's devotion to wake and bake waft through the house. We ride bikes for pleasure, work, errand and pastry. But we never wear Lycra. We sew things. Kombucha is drunk.
Neohippie is not hippie. There may be jeans but they are, well, fancier than your average jean. Feet are bare and sandy but pedicured. Tie die does happen on occasion, but so does poshy Prada. Music is folk-y indie. But one might call Thom Yorke's swells and swoons speaking to the human condition folk. They are, after all, of the folk. No one is shaving or showering much. Cooking greens are composted.
It's metro back-to-the-land. Cat Stevens on an iPod. Dr. Bronner's for the outdoor shower. Buying less but buying better and using it longer. Homemade pickles. Xeriscape with Synlawn. Unironic moccasins.Of note, neohippie is not intentional nor was it acknowledged until it was upon us. Beset by Envirosax reusable grocery bags, Mrs. Meyers's geranium cleaning sundries, quilts made of old clothes and organic coffee, neohippie is undeniable rather than chosen. Neohippie does not preclude consumption of "Raw Bits" cereal, A Prairie Home Companion's Calvinist grist for those who specifically do not have a lifestyle. There is no manifesto, unless one counts chow intellectual Michael Pollan's "Eat food. Not so much. Mostly vegetables." And the chanting of this mantra can be ceased if one presented with a table of steamed crab and a pitcher of cocktails.
How big is this neohippie thing? Venice is inherently neohippie, yes. But not all of Venice is neohippie. Sometimes it's straight up hippie (next door neighbors). Sometimes it's straight-up hooligan Diseneyland or as much skid row as it is anything else. So let's not cast neohippie aspersions over the whole of the nabe. Or on others concerned with the planet's health, their health or the health of their bohemian righteousness. We're talking about one house, its friends and what it recycles, has and shares: hopefully more rather than less. Hopefully hopeful.